Son accused of murdering his father appears in court



A registered sex offender accused of killing his father in Morro Bay appeared in the SLO County Superior Court for arraignment Dec. 14.

William Joel Schonberger, 23, briefly appeared before Judge Dodie Harman to answer to a murder charge in connection with the death of his 59-year-old father, William John Schonburger. He is also facing enhancements on that charge for the use of deadly weapon. 

Schonberger did not appear to react to the charges and answered Harman’s questions in a voice so quiet she had to ask him to speak up.

“I can’t talk very well,” he told Harman.

Schonberger was detained by the California Highway Patrol just after 6 a.m. on Dec. 9. According to investigators, CHP officers made contact with him in the Avila Beach area, where Schonberger told them that he’d injured a relative or family member in Morro Bay.

The CHP advised the Morro Bay Police Department of the situation. Morro Bay police found his father’s body at a residence in the 400 block of Napa Avenue in Morro Bay. According to a statement from the Morro Bay Police Department, investigators also recovered a weapon, described as a “large bladed weapon,” which they believed was used in the murder.

At the Dec. 14 hearing, Harman advised Schonberger of the seriousness of the charges against him. 

“I think, probably, having an attorney is a good idea,” she said. 

Schonberger requested a public defender at the hearing.

In addition to the murder charge, Harmon said Schonberger is also facing a probation violation. That charge likely stems from his status as a registered sex offender. According to records from the California Department of Justice, Schonberger was convicted of possession of child pornography in 2014. 

The murder marks Morro Bay’s second homicide in 2016. The first occurred in August when Bryan Keith Tuck, 47, shot and killed a 36-year-old-woman, Angelica Ramos, before killing himself in an apparent murder-suicide.

The Morro Bay Police reported no homicides in 2015, according to data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report.

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